Review by James Mukheibir
44 Sex Acts in One Week is the perfect play for the internet generation. Fast, frantic and funny, it feels like a horny twenty-something’s Tik-tok feed was struck by lightning and magically brought to life on stage. Throbbing psytrance vibrating through the audience while they watch two actors shove pieces of fruit together until orgasm, lights sparkling off the tinsel backdrop and shouts of encouragement from a sex coach possessed by the spirit of Austin Powers - all combine into a sensory experience that can only be described as riotous hilarity.
The plot of this over-the-top orgy of a production is akin to a sexed up How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, and I for one would be fascinated to see Matthew McConaughey in gimp mask dancing to the tune of Doja Cat’s Boss Bitch. However, I would not want to replace the cast of this show for even McConaughey, as they all deliver raucously energetic and wildly funny performances, engaging with the bizarre and eclectic mix of themes and scenes with full commitment and stellar comedic timing. Special mention must go to Priscilla Doueihy and Rebecca Massey for their stunning performances as a variety of show-stealing characters, each delivered with aplomb.
For those coming to the show having seen David Finnigan’s past work, you will not be disappointed. Jam-packed full of his trademark irreverent wit and snarky social commentary, you are guaranteed to have an absolute ball watching this show. Thematically, it does occasionally feel like Finnigan has tried to tackle too much, with the various plot lines and statement characters crossing over in ways that upon inspection feel a little contradictory or lacking reason. Everything Finnigan is trying to say has merit in isolation, it is only when the show tries to find a neat ending for each then they begin to step on each other's toes. However, the fun and fabulousness that exudes from this show sweeps the audience away, and these slight lapses in the writing are easily forgiven. For those a little worried about what you might be exposing yourself to when buying a ticket, fear not. There is no nudity in the show and the sexual aspects are handled with razor-edge humour and hilarious metaphor.
Another must-mention and wholly wonderful aspect of the show is the sound design by Steve Toulmin. Many of the sound effects were performed on stage by the actors, using foley techniques to create many hilarious moments. The comedic manipulation of these sounds perfectly complemented the bombastic characters and scenes, and filled the cavernous York Theatre with sonic personality.
At its core, this show is a product of its time - cheekily exposing clickbait journalism, influencers and success culture. If late-stage capitalism grinds your gears and you just want to get back to your human roots (no pun intended), this play is the side-splitting, banana breaking, melon pounding show for you.